It’s the most important weekend in the Pro14, we look at the tables and predict the line up for the Playoffs and Semi-Finals.
Only a couple of weeks to go now with the competition final set to kick off on the 25th of May at Celtic Park in Glasgow. However, there is a lot of positions in Conference A and Conference B still to be confirmed in terms of what teams will reach the quarter-finals and semi-finals. There are only two rounds left in the Pro 14 with Rounds 20 and 21.
Conference A –
Glasgow Warriors (71 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Leinster (A), Edinburgh (H)
Munster (68 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Benetton (A), Connacht (H)
Connacht (56 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Cardiff Blues (H), Munster (A)
Cardiff Blues (52 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Connacht (A), Ospreys (H)
Ospreys (49 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Southern Kings (A), Cardiff Blues (A)
First at present Glasgow are on top of the table with 71 points.They play Leinster on April 13th in the RDS and the final game is against Edinburgh on April 27th. I expect them to beat Edinburgh but to struggle against Leinster. They could however come away from Leinster with a losing bonus point. Expect them to get 5 points from the remaining 2 games and get a second placed finish in the table.
Munster are second in the table on 68 points. They face Benetton away on April 13th, before hosting Connacht on the 27th of April. They will be expected to win both games but the game against Benetton will be tricky. I expect them to win both games though and top the standings . Expect them to get 10 points from remaining games.
Connacht are 3rd in the table and they face Cardiff and Munster in the final two rounds. Realistically the game with the Cardiff Blues is a straight shootout and will determine who will make the quarter finals. I expect home advantage to swing it in the favour of Andy Friend’s men, they will find it tough against Munster. Therefore expect them to get 4 points from the two games.
To summarise, from Conference A, I expect Munster to finish top the pool, Glasgow to finish second and Connacht 3rd, meaning Munster go to the semi finals, while Glasgow and Connacht go to the quarter finals.
Ulster (54 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Edinburgh (A), Leinster (H)
Benetton (52 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Munster (H), Zebre (A)
Edinburgh (51 pts) Remaining Fixtures: Ulster (H), Glasgow Warriors (A)
The conference is already sewn up in terms of Leinster topping it, they sit on 74 points at the minute. I expect them to beat both Glasgow and Ulster in the remaining games. With bonus points also. They should get 10 points from the two weekends. The battle for second and third is where it really heats up with 4 teams still in the recknowing, Ulster, Benetton, Edinburgh and Scarlets.
Ulster face Edinburgh away on the 13th of April. A win here and they will virtually be guaranteed a quarter final, a loss however cut put them in trouble. As they face Leinster in the last game, I expect Leinster to beat them but they may sneak a bonus point at home, Thererfore I expect they should get 5 points from the remaining two games. Benetton are in third at the minute but face Munster on April 13th, be a tight game Munster should win but it be close. They then face Zebre a game they will win and should get the maximum 5 points.
Edinburgh will need to have a win against Ulster if they are to make the quarter finals. I think it will be tough game. I expect them to also lose to Glasgow in the final round, they may come away with 2 bonus points from both games.
Based on the above Leinster will top the table, Ulster will be second and Benetton will be third.
Quarter final – Glasgow v Benetton and Connacht v Ulster.
Semi final – Glasgow v Munster and Leinster v Connacht.
The Final – Leinster and Munster final is what I would predict with Leinster coming out on top.